This week began like any other for Colt McCoy. He came to Redskins Park on Monday to get in some film study of the previous game, and then he came back on Tuesday, typically a players’ day off, to work out and watch video of the upcoming game, just as he always does.
McCoy’s situation changed late on Tuesday, when he learned from Coach Jay Gruden that he would take over as the starting quarterback, replacing a struggling Robert Griffin III.
But McCoy — a fifth-year veteran, who earlier this season helped Washington to two of its three victories — aims to go about his business as if things remain the same, although Gruden touted him on Wednesday as the quarterback that gives Washington the best chance to win.
McCoy and the Redskins hope to dig their way out of this 3-8 hole and salvage the season in some way. But he said he aims to simply play the role of game manager, not superhero.
“I don’t want to get into ‘Who’s better? Who’s not?’ ” said McCoy, a 2010 third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns who has 22 starts under his belt. “For me, as a quarterback, I think Jay expects us to make the right decisions with the football, get us in the right plays when he asks us to get us in those plays vs. blitz, vs. different coverages that we see, go to the right place with the football — just make good decisions. The way I approach it, we have great receivers, we have great tight ends, good running backs. Our running game has picked up over the last few weeks, which I think is a big positive for us. I just want to go out there and distribute the football, be smart, score points.”
McCoy entered the season as the third-string quarterback, but he moved up to second once Griffin dislocated his left ankle in Week 2. Until the third quarter of Washington’s Week 7 game against Tennessee, he had received only limited practice reps with the starting offense. McCoy still managed to lead Washington to a 19-17 comeback victory, however, completing 11 of 12 passes for a touchdown. The following week, against Dallas, he completed 25 of 30 passes for an interception and no touchdowns, but he did rush for a touchdown and directed the Redskins downfield for a field goal in overtime.
Griffin returned to action the following week. But some Redskins players wouldn’t have had a problem with McCoy remaining the starter for the final game before the bye.
Now that he’s back for a second stint as the starter, McCoy said he again feels support from his teammates.
“I think my teammates have responded well,” he said. “I know they’re confident in me.”
Gruden said he plans for McCoy to close out the remaining five games as the starter, but allowed him some wiggle room in case he struggles.
“I’m prepared to give Colt every opportunity to keep the job, yes. That’s not an issue for me,” Gruden said. “I think the best man gets the job, and if you open the door for somebody to play, by injury or lack of production, that’s what happens sometimes, the guy does well. That’s what we hope happens with Colt.”
McCoy, meanwhile, said he’s not thinking of the stretch run, believing the simple approach will best serve him.
“I’m taking it one day at a time,” he said. “I’m not thinking about tomorrow or the next day. Just focus on my approach — focus on being confident, figuring out what I have to do to get myself prepared to play Sunday.”
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